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Checklist: Packing a Hospital Bag

Find out what you'll need after delivery and what to leave at home.

Photo: Veer

Forget all those other (excessive) checklists -- this is the only one you’ll need, we promise.

Have your bags (one for you, one for baby) packed and in your car by 35 weeks. (Taxi-taking moms -- stash your bags in the front hall closet.)

A tip for the thrifty: Ask your hospital what they provide for babies and mothers, and take those items off your list.

Must-Haves:


[ ] Insurance info, hospital forms and birth plan (if you have one)

[ ] 2-3 pairs of warm, nonskid socks that can get ruined (for walking the halls before and after labor)

[ ] A warm robe or sweater you don’t mind sacrificing to the cause

[ ] 2 maternity bras -- no underwire -- and nursing pads (whether or not you plan to nurse, you’ll appreciate the support and leak-protection)

[ ] Lip balm (hospitals are very dry)

[ ] Toiletries and personal items -- hairbrush, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, face wash, makeup (as if), shampoo, conditioner, lotion, contact lens case and solution (remember, travel-sized products are your friends)

[ ] Eyeglasses

[ ] Headband or ponytail holder (avoid clips -- they’ll probably poke you)

[ ] Sugar-free hard candy or lozenges to keep your mouth moist during labor (candy with sugar will make you thirsty)

[ ] Pen and paper

[ ] Lots of change for the vending machines and non-perishable snacks (you’ll probably be hungry after labor, and the hospital cafeteria could be closed)

[ ] Cell phone and charger, phone numbers of people to call after birth, prepaid calling card (if your hospital doesn’t allow cell phones)

[ ] Camera, film or extra memory card, battery or charger

[ ] A gym bag packed with a change of clothes and basic hygiene products for your partner


Take it or leave it:

[ ] Extra pillow (with a case that can get ruined, in a pattern distinguishable from hospital white)

[ ] Comfortable going-home clothes in six-month maternity size and flat shoes (or, just wear the clothes you came in… sorry, but they’ll probably still fit)

[ ] Bath towel (the hospital will likely supply a small, very thin one)

[ ] Hairdryer

[ ] Your favorite brand of soap, shampoo and heavy flow sanitary pads (the hospital supplies these things, but bring your own if you’re picky)

[ ] A few pairs of maternity underwear that can get ruined (the hospital will have disposable pairs, which some women find handy and others find gross)

[ ] A ruin-able nightgown (you can use those lovely hospital gowns, but your own might help you feel more human)

[ ] Breast pump, if you plan to use one

[ ] Slippers that can get dirty

[ ] Very light reading (think mags and newspapers, not War and Peace)

[ ] Your MP3 (loaded with your favorite tunes, of course)

[ ] Massage oil and tools like rolling pins or tennis balls, and lucky or inspirational objects (honestly, we doubt you'll use 'em…but feel free to prove us wrong!)


Leave Home:

[ ] Any clothes or nighties you really like (they will get ruined)

[ ] Stopwatch (your nurse or a monitor will take care of timing contractions)


What to Bring For Baby:

[ ] Approved car seat

[ ] A coming-home outfit

[ ] Warm blankets (for the ride home)

[ ] Outdoor gear like a snowsuit and hat, as seasonally appropriate (remember, babies are extra sensitive to cold)

Plus, more from The Bump:

Best (Unexpected!) Things Moms Brought to the Hospital

Top 10 Labor and Delivery Fears -- Are They Worth the Worry?

Tricks to Make Labor Easier

-- Paula Kashtan

See More: 3rd Trimester , Labor and Delivery , Pregnancy Tools